Mumbai makes institutional isolation mandatory for COVID-19 patients above 50
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has modified its guidelines for COVID-19 patients in Mumbai and has urged that all the virus-affected people (who are above 50) should opt for mandatory institutional isolation even if they are asymptomatic. The new isolation guidelines were recently released by Dr. Mangala Gomare, the Executive Health Officer of the top civic body. Here are more details.
High fatality rate among 50-plus patients: Dr. Gomare
Elaborating on the reason behind the change, Dr. Gomare said, "Most deaths have been recorded in the age group of 60-70 years, followed by those in the 50-60 age bracket. Hence, we decided to monitor those aged above 50 from the day they test positive."
Only people below 50 with mild symptoms can home isolate
To note, around 83% of the total COVID-19 deaths in Mumbai are in the 50-plus age group. Indian Express reports that of the total number of deaths in private hospitals in the first half of August, 94% were 50-plus. In the guidelines, BMC states that only those who are below 50 and have mild symptoms/asymptomatic (or without co-morbidity), would be allowed to home isolate.
Mandate will create fear in people, says AMC president
However, Deepak Baid, President of the Association of Medical Consultants, has criticized the order, saying that it will create fear in the minds of people who are already skeptical about getting tested. He said that this is an attempt by the government "to fill its jumbo COVID-19 facilities," opining that it will "fail since members of affluent class won't go to BMC-run facilities".
Nobody would be coerced for hospital admission, asserts Dr. Gomare
Meanwhile, Dr. Gomare said that nobody can be coerced to get admitted to a hospital, but the patient in question will be provided counselling, and all possible efforts will be undertaken to get them admitted to a COVID center. She further clarified that an infected person would be allowed to choose between private and government facilities at their discretion.
Maharashtra continues to register a high number of cases
Notably, Maharashtra has registered 13,165 new cases in the last 24 hours. The total number of active cases in Mumbai is 17,917. Almost half of the total 1.31 lakh cases in Mumbai are people above 50. In the same time period, the country recorded around 69,000 new cases, taking the total number to 29.1 lakh (according to the Health Ministry's website), and 54,849 deaths.